All The Comforts Of Home

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These areas were packed with Temple fans versus USF and some of them never visited their seats.

If every Temple fan did his or her part and converted one or two non-Temple fans to the Temple game experience, I firmly believe crowds would significantly increase—at least over the short term.

So, whenever I can, I do my part.

I won a pair of Temple tickets on a radio show (thanks, Zach Gelb) early this year to the 97-degree game (Stony Brook) and mentioned that to my weekly tennis group and asked if anyone wanted to go. I immediately got a pair of hands raised and a couple of new Temple football fans, if not forever, then certainly the rest of the year. Those two guys had such a good time have paid their way to two home games since. They have not made the tailgate portion of the game experience yet, but getting them into the stadium was the important thing.

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Former Brown captain Kyle Rettig led the Let’s Go Temple cheers on Friday night.

This past week, I convinced one more to take my regular ticket in Section 121 because I wanted to sample the Club Level experience for the first time since Bernard Pierce was carted off the field against Army and that was a long time ago. Then, I was sitting in the stands trying futilely to ignite a couple of “Let’s Go Temple” cheers while my fellow Owl partisans mostly sat on their hands. At the time, I decided it was time to go back to Section 121 where at least half of the fans were heavy into the cheering culture.

I did not return until Friday night against USF.

With a Club Ticket in my hand on Friday, another friend gave me a “field pass” so I spent the first half down on the field (actually, the front row of the end zone) sitting next to former Brown University football player Kyle Rettig. Kyle is the 26-year-old son of a former great Temple tight end, Joe Rettig, and he and I led the group of Temple students behind us in a few “Let’s Go Temple” chants. Even though Kyle currently lives in Clearwater and did not graduate from Temple, he is more of a Temple fan than a USF fan and it was good to see him put family before Geography.

By the half, it was time to use my Club Level seats.

That was another eye-opening experience, completely different from my last Club Level experience.

Now I know where most of the fans are in the “announced” crowds exceeding 25K, a part of the crowd that journalists do not see when they claim Temple is “inflating” attendance figures.

There were seemingly thousands (maybe high hundreds, but a lot) of fans who did nothing but sit on comfortable padded couches and chairs and tables in the Club Level watching the game on perhaps the biggest (and best) screen HDTV screens I ever saw. (We commoners below only get to watch on small screen plasma TVs and have to stand in the lower concourse to do it.) I turned around and there was my (at least Facebook) friend and former Temple great Joe Greenwood sitting all by himself on one table. Probably no one there other than me remembered how good a safety Joe Greenwood was for Bruce Arians.

Hell, who wants to go into the stands when you can see the game this well with that much detail?

“Joe, I didn’t think you’d be here with the hoi polloi,” I said. “I’m usually in the stands.”

He laughed.

Three USF fans behind me were sitting at another table and went nuts when Marlon Mack scored his touchdown to make it 37-30. I made sure to turn around to them after the Owls picked off a pass on the next series.

“That’s Temple TUFF,” I told them.

They did not laugh.

The Temple game experience at the new Temple Stadium will be totally different than the one fans have experienced at Lincoln Financial. I guess if you can funnel those thousands of fans used to years of comfort on Club Level concourses back into the seats and cheering with the non-hoi polloi, it would be a good thing.

Or maybe you lose those high-rollers entirely to the comfort of their homes and own big-screen HDTVs if you build a no-frills $126 million stadium. It’s a hard question with no easy answers.

Friday: Tuberville’s Last Stand

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15 thoughts on “All The Comforts Of Home

  1. Good article Mike and I think your last 2 paragraphs ask some interesting questions with regards to the on campus stadium. I have club level seats, C21 but only avail myself of the comforts at the level pre-game and halftime. Have to admit it is nice to get out of the elements at the half for games like ECU in 2014. Every game I see a good number of fans who you can tell aren’t heading out to the stands.

    • Bill Bradshaw once explained to me why it is impossible for Temple to “inflate” attendance figures at LFF. One, the announced figure is controlled by the Eagles, not Temple. Two, the announced figure is the total counted electronically after each ticket is scanned. So it is not the number sold but the number through the turnstiles. Now I know why our crowds often appear smaller than they really are. My eyes were really opened on the incredible number of fans on the Club Level concourses, WAAAAAAY more than the number of fans on the lower-level concourses. All of those fans on both concourses are out of site to Mike Jensen and David Murphy and critics of Temple’s attendance.

      • The easy answer my last paragraph is build a “frills” stadium with a similar concourse area to the Linc. That would cost about $300 million. If Temple is not willing to do that, I think the new stadium on the cheap has a chance to be a White Elephant. Got to build a facility at least the equal in amenities to the Apollo (OK, Liacouras Center), which I think is the most spectacular basketball facility in town.

      • That’s what I had seen elsewhere with regards to the attendance count as well. With the scanner technology you can have a count real time. Having been in the club level for the past 6 seasons I’ve basically taken it for granted that there were always a good number of folks who watch the entire game inside, have to admit it is comfortable. During that ECU game there were 8 of us sitting in C21 with several dozen fans from the section warm and dry watching on the big screens. One of the questions going forward is, how many of those people won’t buy tickets at a bare bones stadium.

  2. Comment: You’re misusing hoi polloi. The people in the stands are the hoi polloi; the ones in the club seats are the elites.

    • Yes, I looked it up and you are correct. My dad always referred to the hoi polloi as the upper classes; that’s why I used it in talking to Joe Greenwood on Friday night. Misused is the correct term but I didn’t want to misquote myself because Joe knew what I said.

  3. Mike, I wonder if another name, a great safety for Temple in the old and bad days is on your horizon. My classmate in elementary school, junior high, Central HS (started at safety there, too), and Temple, Jerry Brodsky. I think he also graduated from Temple Law School, but I went on to HUC-JIR rabbinical school in New York. I can remember many a game in the old Temple Stadium when I moved over to the fifty yard line seats from the twenty (so few fans, the ushers just gave me a glance and a shoulder shrug), and by the fourth period, with glum cheer leaders, I would stand up and lead the cheers. After I graduated in 61, I was not able to get to many games, but one of my daughters did, being in the Diamond Band. She got to see Paul Palmer play; I did not. Rabbi Dick White. PS Beat Cincy! I will be in the stands for the game. Oh, I still love the old Fight, Temple, fight on, fight song better than the new one.

    • fight on temple fight is way better than T for Temple U. fight on was played after every Temple touchdown in the Hardin Era so I have a Pavlovian response to that great song. My only guess as to why T for Temple U has caught on is that the words are so simplistic and therefore easier to remember.

  4. Jerry Brodsky is well before my time, which started as a kid watching players like John Waller, Tommy DeFelice and Jim Callahan on Channel 17.

  5. what has happened to Notre Dame since Game Day last October.., we can beat those guys in South Bend next year…,

    crazy world of college football continues.., our odds at winning the conference championship, a bowl game, and finishing in the Top 25 are better now at this point in the season than they were last year.., truly game on if we beat Cincy on Saturday., have two free club level seats available for the ECU game if anyone wants

    • KJ, love your enthusiasm but I have been at this a long time and have learned that each week can and often is different. If Temple can continue to play great ball control offense with solid timely defense week in and week out then we can close really strong. The O-line has developed nicely and having two really good backs that can wear out a defense is a difference maker. USF’s defense wanted to go home in the 4th quarter after getting beat up pretty good. As for the stadium, I agree LFF is first class with ample parking and easy access. The problem isn’t the facility or where it’s located, the problem is the cost of the rental, to include no concession or parking money along with the 35k-40k empty seats that on tv look’s absolutely terrible. That’s what people notice when they tune in to watch a temple game on TV. I have been to Navy/Marine Corp stadium in Annapolis and it seats about 35k but when you put 28k in it, it looks full and sounds great. It is all about perception and LFF with all of its empty seats looks bad for the program.

  6. Philly.com and Inquirer have another hit piece on the stadium, This time written by Inga Saffron. She claims it will have a deleterious effect on the neighborhood.

    • I’ve seen the neighborhood. That’s a little like saying moving the rocks in Dresden in late 1945 would ruin the newfound ambiance that bombing gave to the town.

      • Mike That’s funny stuff. As for Inga Binga, she always complains about something when she writes an article for the Inky. She wouldn’t be happy in heaven. Now onto the game. I think this Cinn. team might be a little soft. We have to punch them in the mouth early, run the ball mix in some play action and control the clock. Use both backs and run it 30-40 and use both backs to test exhaust their D. By the time the 4th quarter rolls around they will be warming the buses up like USF did last week. On defense, pressure the QB and force him to throw quickly and short. Don’t give up any big pass plays and I think we will be ok.

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